Football gains momentum early on


After a tight victory in their season-opening game against the Esperanza Aztecs, the Brahma football team is looking to dominate the Hacienda League and earn a chance to compete for a CIF title. 

Following the departure of former head coach Jeff Reitz, this year’s head coach Matt Castaneda has stepped up to the role. Since his arrival, the Brahmas have seen a more dynamic practice style, similar to that of college teams.

“We definitely have a different tempo at practice [and focus on] a lot of detail in our offensive and defensive line,” Castaneda said. “It’s been a great transition so far.”

Standout players on the team include senior wide receiver Maddox Bernardino, who was named the Southern California Athlete of the Week after his performance in the Brahmas’ first game with 267 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Other key players in the rotation include: junior wide receiver Kai Jenkins, junior lineman Nolan Kim, senior defensive end Julian Martinez, junior defensive end Alexander Xiao, senior running back and linebacker Isaiah Young, sophomore linebacker Matt Galvan and junior linebacker Niko Macias.

With a strong offensive line and a spread offense, the majority of the team’s plays this year are designed as run-pass options. 

“On every given play [quarterback Ryan Lewis] can either run or throw the ball,” Castaneda said. “It’s designed in a ‘run sense,’ but the opportunity to throw the ball every play is also there, so it’s a pretty balanced attack.”

As a team, the Brahms are aiming for a victory against the Walnut Mustangs in the annual Branding Iron, a league championship, a CIF Division title and a CIF State title. However, the only way to reach those goals is to focus on the weekly game at hand. 

“Individually, I want our guys to be recognized,” Castaneda said. “My goal is to make sure some of our guys play in the All-Star games … and end up with some sort of opportunities to play beyond college.”

With a 3-0 record, the Brahmas will play their next game on Thursday Sept. 8 against Montclair.